MTH European Trains

They're primarily intended for overseas audiences (and doing very well in that regard--the pricing is very attractive compared to whatever else is available), and any US sales are icing on the cake, even though they're going to be significantly fewer here than of US prototypes.


That said (before anyone serves up the requisite bottle of "Hateorade" ) I bought a power/dummy set of SBB Cargo TRAXX electrics as a "demonstrator" set. 


Cl482 on 063-2

(not my layout--I was testing on a friend's setup before heading home with it)


I plan to use it with my train of spine cars when I finally get around to running it on my test track loop (currently out-of-service). If any of the high-speed trainsets (such as a TGV , Pendolino, Siemens Velaro, or a Bombardier Zefiro) were to be produced, I'd be sorely tempted to get at least one.



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I have the French 241.A "Chapelon."  My comments:

1) The best whistle of any loco I have, hands down.  IT has the shrill european sound down pat.  I run this sometimes just to hear the whistle.

2) The best paint, detail, and "glamour" of any loco I have.  The quality "look" rivals good brass locos.  I rate it slightly superior to my one 3rd rail in this category. 

3) Good runner.  Not as good as recent Legacy, but very good.  Pulls well, runs smooth and fairly slow if you ask it.

4) So-so chuffing and loco sounds.  Its PS-3 but I can't hear any difference compared to PS-2 and it is noticeably - very noticeably, flatter and lass dynamic than any recent Legacy loco running nearby. The sound was a disappointment frankly, but its not that it is bad: Lionel just sets very high bar recently with its best Legacy and Vision products.

5) It is 1:43.5 scale: roughly 10% larger than 1:48 scale locos.    It looks slightly out of place in among 1:48 models.  The 241.A was not a big loco and as a model it is not that big (not bigger than a 1:48 scale Legacy 3751 Northern, for example).  But it looks a bit weird because of its scale anyway, its 80" drivers look too big because they are, its cab a bit too high because it is, when right next to a 3751, etc.  A subtle difference, and if it bothers you, as it does me, you run it so other scale locos aren't around it.

6) Buy the 1:43 European rolling stock for it to pull.  Again, most 1:48 will look a bit weird with it. 

I bought the MTH articulated Swiss "crocodile" engine (nicely done engine by the way), of course had to then pick  up a bunch of "beer" European box cars to go with it. I plan on having mountains on my layout so I can pretend it's the Swiss Alps from time to time. I found myself picking up some HO Swiss type buildings for the mountains.......... Well, it is my empire and as they say: " can grow old but you don't have to grow up........"



I like the Euro trains. They add some welcome variety to a market that seems to await the latest iteration of NYC Hudson, UP Challenger, Warbonnet diesel, etc. with some new tweak of electronics or detail. I have the Swiss Cargo electric and a few tankers and gondolas to go with it. I also have a bunch of SBB four-wheel box cars and beer cars waiting for a good deal on a Croc to come along, plus a five-car Orient Express similarly anticipating the right French or German steamer. The Orient Express cars are enormous - longer than my K-Line 21" streamliners - and the detail is spectacular. MTH has done a very nice job with the Euro trains. Now they need to come out with more different molds of freight cars - all you can get now is 4-wheel box cars and reefers and modern tankers and gondolas.


I have the Swiss Croc with the beer and box cars.  The detailing on the loco and cars is about as good as you can get without going to brass, and may eqaul many brass releases.  The down sides, which are not a big issue, is the slow speed performance of the engine - it is not as smooth as I had hoped for - and the sound, which does not seem to duplicate the real engine.  There are many makers of European sound boards with better sounds sets than MTH, so I think MTH would be well served to make DCC ready versions of their Euro loco so that people can install their own sound.  Finally, the model only represents the brown version of the engine; the body on the green engine went through a number of modifications, and none of these are included in the MTH model.  However, despite these flaws, its hard not to prasie MTH for making a near brass quality croc that costs only a fraction of those from European makers. 








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If I'm not mistaken, the "crocs" only carried freight but then a nice set of passenger cars would look good behind one. Your railroad, your fun...............


I have the green croc as well, didn't realize that the green ones were a modified version. Oh well, if I don't tell anyone, only Glenn will know......


It was a big risk for MTH to dive into the European market but what they have on their side is price point and I understand that they are selling well which gives us more choice (not that we needed it......), broadening the market in two aspects.


I have to say that I have been tempted by the Chapelon but hesitate to start collecting in yet another road name



I really love these...I regularly pick up copies of UK's Railway Modeller and Continental Modeller here in the USA and have been tempted to purchase one or two.  For runners and operators foreign prototypes have run on US railways as "specials", tourism, promotions, revenue. Awesome opportunity to think outside the box, take off the blinders and rebel against the 'pack

Pat Kelly in Centreville, Maryland

...on this island Delmarva Penninsula


Train nut for Life.


Have fun with your trains.

I use my green Croc to carry two LMS cream and crimson passenger cars which are each 18 inches long. After reading the other replies above, I went to MTH's website and saw how big the Orient Express is (21"). I want to add the new LMS Coronation set (it's blue) - each of those cars are about 17" in length and the Croc will be the primary engine. Terry

If you want the LMS Coronation Scot set, may I suggest you wait for the ACE version, which will be scale length, correct windows etc (only the Dining Car is slightly shortened to fit the standard 40cm ACE chassis).   These are scheduled to appear at the end of the year to complement the blue ACE streamlined Coronation locomotives now in production.   Please note that this is a nearly completely accurate model of the 1937-1939 London Glasgow streamliner, which always bore silver-striped blue livery.


The trouble with the MTH LMS coaches is that they are not flush glazed and the plastic sides are quite thick.   ACE use tinplate sides, and their negligable thickness results in the glass being very nearly flush, just as the prototypes were. 


In fact, the NYC Drefuss scheme for the 1938 20th Century was very largely the LMS colour scheme in reverse, grey with blue stripes instead of blue with silver stripes.  The position of the thick and thin stripes was reversed too, just so it would be less noticieable!   These arty-farties never plagerise others, only gain inspiration from them......


It is not the gold-striped red train which ran in 1939 in the USA, and which was displayed at the NY World Fair, 1939 & '40, which was made up from more modern cars, most of which which were supposed to form the 1940 Coronation Scot train but this never ran due to WW2.   Cars for the the 1940 train were eventually finished after the War, but never assembled as a unified train.


I am English, but I have the Sunset 20th Century, and the ACE Coronation Scot is on order.  It then suddenly occured to me that the NYC train livery was mainly the reverse of the LMS livery, which is most intriguing!

I have the Chapelon with the Orient Express Cars,this is a great looking and sounding train with announcements in French.I travel alot in Europe and there are several trains that you can ride with cars like the Orient Express,it is amazing to ride on these trips.

Originally Posted by MohawkMike:

If I'm not mistaken, the "crocs" only carried freight but then a nice set of passenger cars would look good behind one. Your railroad, your fun...............


I have the green croc as well, didn't realize that the green ones were a modified version. Oh well, if I don't tell anyone, only Glenn will know......



I believe the crocs may have seen some passenger service in their time, but I'm not sure when, although they certainly haul passenger cars today in excursion service.  In fact, some European manufacturers sell the green crocs with a set of excursion cars.  However, MTH does not make any prototype passenger cars that would fit the role.


As for the differnences between the brown and green crocs, when the locos were modified and painted geeen one door on each cab was removed and different ladders were installed on the front of the noses for the conductor to ride in switching moved.  So, the differences are not huge.

Going by the prices of the coaches already on sale, I would guess about £80, say $120 per coach.  The Coronation Scot was a nine-car train so in the region of $1,100.


I should add that I have no connection withACE, axcepts as a satisfied customer.


If you Google acetrainslondon, then products and then coaches, you can see the sort of thing they do, very much in the tinplate tradition.  Actually, I bought their Silver Jubilee streamliner car set to run with my Sunset LNER Class A4 "Silver Fox", since one gets the entire train for less than the price of one brass car and they look and run well enough for me.

Have the unpainted Chapelon 2-3-1; would like the Chapelon 2-4-1 and the Duchess-

class BR 4-6-2 (which always looks like the love child of a NYC Niagara and a PRR K-4,

were such a thing even, er, conceivable; gorgeous loco).


A DB BR-50 class (I think that is correct) 2-10-0 would probably get me on the phone

to my MTH pusher - ah, dealer - however - even with all that odd red paint down below.

I am hoping for a German decapod also, saw the real things double headed on log trains back in the late 60's.  There were more than one class of the 2-10-0' the top of my head I think there were the BR-44 and BR-52 classes in addition to the BR-50's, and I'm pretty sure there were others.  Any of them would be fine with me.  Maybe Steinzeit can elaborate. 


BTW, Lionel had some brass 2 rail German decapods made (I think in the 90's).  Only a few were made, maybe only 75 total.  Why they made these, I don't know.

Originally Posted by John23:

I am hoping for a German decapod also, saw the real things double headed on log trains ............ Maybe Steinzeit can elaborate. 


BTW, Lionel had some brass 2 rail German decapods made (I think in the 90's).  Only a few were made, maybe only 75 total.  Why they made these, I don't know.

 Since you asked:

    There were basically four standard German 2-10-0's:  The three cylinder 44, and the general purpose two cylinder 50, plus the two wartime locomotives, the mass produced 52 and its slightly heavier cousin, the 42.  The two latter had disappeared from West German rails by the early sixties, so you saw the first two types.


"However":  The [ West ] German Federal switched over to computer numbering for locomotives on 1 /68, with steam locomotives generally getting a 0 prefix to their class.  Because the numbers of the 50 class ran from 001 up through 50.31xx, and the system only allowed for a three digit running number, the 50's became classes 050 through 053.   Thus, 052.293, say, was the former 50.2293, and not a class 52.  Also, the few classes that were either coal or oil fired were shredded out;  thus oil fired 44's became 043's, and oil fired Br 41 2-8-2's became 042's -- again, not a Br 42.


As far as the Lionel Br 50's, there were originally to be three versions:  prewar, postwar DB, and SNCF.  However Lionel did not realize that selling something with a swastika is illegal in Germany [ condensed explanation ] so the production  prewar ones were converted to postwar.  I've forgotten the numbers, assuming the 'real number' was public knowledge -- maybe 300 total.


Lenz will be coming out with a 2 rail DCC equipped 50;  those 3 railers who use flat topped rail and have reasonably broad curves [ maybe 48" radius, O-96 ] MIGHT be able to operate one with a minor mod or two.  Just a thought.


Hope that helps, SZ

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